Rosewall Creek Provincial Park is a 54-hectare nature park protecting an important area for wintering waterfowl near Fanny Bay. The park has an easy 2 km hiking trail that meanders along the creek. However, for a more significant hike, I recommend going past the park boundaries to beautiful Rosewall Creek Falls.
This gem stole my heart completely. And it’s not just the falls that are breathtaking, as the trail leading up to the falls is truly magnificent too!
- Park Features: Day-use area; Picnic spots overlooking the creek; Pit toilets
- Trail Features: Wildlife; Waterfall; Rail trestle; Beautiful trail
- Length: 2 – 8 km depending on the route taken
- Trail Hazards: Exposed roots; slippery logs to cross over (on the trail to the waterfall only)
- Difficulty: Easy to Moderate depending on the route taken
- Suitability: The short trail to the picnic area and pit toilets are wheelchair-accessible
- Bike Trails: Due to all the log crossings, this trail isn’t really suitable for biking
- Dogs: Dogs are able to use this trail, but must be kept on a leash
- Other: Garbage cans are available at the Provincial Park picnic areas.
Rosewall Creek Provincial Park
The park offers a small day-use area with picnic tables overlooking beautiful Rosewall Creek. There is also a short loop trail that runs along both sides of the creek, leading you over an abandoned rail trestle.
One of the best times to visit this park is in the fall when the leaves of the large maple trees have turned into their glorious autumn colours. They make an incredible backdrop for any photographer.
A Bit of History
In the parking area, you will see a memorial sign for Lt. Ian MacDonald. Established in 1956, the Fanny Bay/Bowser Memorial Committee lobbied the government to create this park in memory of this Fanny Bay resident. Lieutenant MacDonald died in action during the allied invasion of Normandy during World War II.
The park also protects a Coastal western hemlock forest and big leaf maple trees, as well as Rosewall Creek which is a salmon spawning stream.
Trail to Rosewall Creek Falls
The trail you need to take to get to the waterfall follows the creek upstream and under the highway bridge. Although the trail starts at the Provincial Park, you walk beyond the park boundaries to reach the falls.
From the parking area at the Provincial Park, take the trail that leads you upstream (left at the memorial sign mentioned above). Within a few minutes, you will wind your way around and under both of the highway bridges (Hwy 19 and 19A).
From there you will leave the highway noise behind and continue to follow the creek upstream.
The trail is within a second-growth forest of Hemlock, Douglas Fir, Grand Fir, Western Red Cedar, and Sitka Spruce. As mentioned above, there are also plenty of Alder and Big Leaf Maple trees. The forest is rich with lichen, moss, fungus and mushrooms creating a beautiful woodland scene.
Although this rustic trail is relatively flat, with only a few short inclines, there are a lot of obstacles to pass over. There are many large stumps and logs to manoeuvre around or duck under, and a few creeks to cross over on man-made bridges.
The trail to the falls is approximately 4 km, making the entire trip there and back 8 km. At around the 2.5 km mark, you will leave the Provincial Park boundaries and continue on.
Rosewall Creek Falls
There are two separate waterfalls to view, both within the same area. The first one you come to is the easiest to take a picture of, as it has the best vantage point. If you follow the trail a bit further, you will be able to get a better view of the larger falls. Please note, the trail to view the second and larger falls is not maintained and quite steep, but doable with sure footing.
During the summer months when the water levels are lower you might be able to ramble along the large rocks in the clear pools to get a better vantage point of the larger falls. If you do decide to do this, please know you are doing so at your own risk. These pools also make a great swimming spot.
The large rocks surrounding the pools and creek make for a great place to rest and have a snack while enjoying the beautiful scenery!
Rosewall Creek Provincial Park is located approximately 3 km south of Fanny Bay.
- Take the Cook Creek interchange off of Highway 19
- Follow Cook Creek Rd down to Hwy 19A and turn left (onto the highway)
- Turn right off of Hwy 19A onto Berray Road
- The entrance sign for the Provincial Park will be on your left-hand side just as you turn onto Berray Road
Alternately, and for a more scenic drive, take Hwy 19A all the way from Parksville. This meandering highway, called the Oceanside Route, will lead you through French Creek, Qualicum Beach, Qualicum Bay and Bowser before you reach Berray Road.
Things to Note
While we didn’t see any wildlife during our trip, this is prime bear and cougar territory. It’s always best to be aware of your surroundings and be prepared for an encounter. For more information on what to do if you happen to come across either of these animals while hiking, please read our post entitled, Potential Wildlife Encounters on Vancouver Island.
Also, make sure to bring:
- Good hiking shoes
So tell me, have you hiked to Rosewall Creek Falls? Let me know about your experience in the comments below.
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